SWANTON — The Swanton Public Library’s basement was quiet late Thursday afternoon. Snow fell outside. Children’s dusty boots lined the nearest wall.
Directly opposite those boots, up a ramp and through cracked double doors, four adults were quietly working to preserve Swanton’s history, their efforts as yet unknown to the broader public.
Those four people are the Village of Swanton Historical Preservation Commission: Reg Beliveau Jr., who also serves as the village manager; Neal Speer, the freshly re-elected village president; Ron Kilburn, the Swanton Historical Society’s president; and Elisabeth Nance, Swanton’s economic development coordinator, who serves as the commission’s secretary.
Nance coordinated a village walkthrough late last year for state agency officials, like Devin Colman of the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (VDHP), who explained the concept of Certified Local Governments (CLGs) to Swanton residents in attendance.
The VDHP administers the CLG program with the National Park Service. The CLG program’s main goal is “to encourage municipalities to develop and maintain historic preservation efforts as part of local land use planning and development activities.”
Colman’s explanation had a little more color. The CLG program, he said, is allotted a certain amount of money each year to fund local preservation efforts. A municipality has to be a CLG to be eligible for that money, but few municipalities in Vermont are, meaning there is a lot of money out there sitting around, waiting to be claimed.
Swanton officials jumped on the opportunity.
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